Oscar Betting Guide 2021

Facts, Figures, And Other Resources For Legal Betting On The Biggest Night in Movies
Academy Awards betting

Where and when to watch the Oscars

93rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony: Sunday, April 25, 2021

Start time: 5 p.m. PST/ 8 p.m. EST

Network: ABC

Streaming options: www.abc.com or via the ABC app. Viewers with certain cable providers can log into the ABC app using their cable login. From there, select “Watch Live TV”. More info on how to watch the Oscars is available on ABC’s website.

2021 Oscar nominees

The Father
Judas & the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
Trial of the Chicago 7

Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
Gary Oldman (Mank)
Steven Yeun (Minari)

Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday)
Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)
Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Daniel Kaluuya (Judas & the Black Messiah)
Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)
Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)
LaKeith Stanfield (Judas & the Black Messiah)

Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)
Oliva Colman (The Father)
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
Yuh-Jun Youn (Minari)

Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)
Emerald Fenell (Promising Young Woman)
David Fincher (Mank)
Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

Legal U.S. Oscar betting for the third time

Plenty of people have tried to guess who will take home the Academy Award at an Oscars party or with friends. New Jersey –and now Indiana take the movie awards to the next level.

In 2019, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement gave sportsbooks the all-clear to accept wagers on the Oscars. It was an unforged territory for regulated US sports betting, to great success. New Jersey was the only state that offered legal Oscar betting last year, but Indiana joined the party in 2020. Nevada has never booked action on the Oscars. Additionally, other states such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania don’t allow wagering on anything that is not explicitly a sporting event.

How does Oscar betting work?

There is really only one type of bet sportsbooks will offer on the Oscars. Each nominee in a category has moneyline odds that they will take home the award.

The nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards were announced on Monday, March 15 (scroll up to see the “Bix Six” category nominees). Scroll down the page for current odds on the 2021 Oscar nominees.

As an example of how Oscar betting works, let’s take a look at the 2021 nominees for Best Director. Here are the five nominees and sample odds (not current) for each one:

  • Chloe Zhao: -1,000
  • David Fincher: +800
  • Lee Isaac Chung: +1,000
  • Emerald Fenell: +1,400
  • Thomas Vinterberg: +1,400

The favorite to win the award is Zhao (-670), who directed the film Nomadland. If you bet $100 on Zhao to win and she does, you would get your $100 back and profit $10. In other words, you would have to wager $100 to win $10 (or $10 to win $1, and so on).

Let’s say you bet $10 on Fincher (+800) and he upsets though. Then you would win back your $10 bet and profit $80. In other words, you would win $80 for every $10 you wagered (or $8 for every $1, and so on).

Because there are countless awards show leading up to the actual Oscars, there is typically a clear frontrunner in every category. That means steep moneylines on the likely winners. These bets require you wager a lot to win a little. However, if you can accurately predict an upset, you can make a tidy profit.

This year features some heavy favorites in the male acting categories, but the female acting categories are much more wide open than usual.

Where can you bet on Oscars?

So far, New Jersey and Indiana are the only states willing to offer Oscar bets. We don’t know exactly how many sportsbooks will offer Oscar betting yet and on which categories. So far, DraftKings and its movie buff Johnny Avello are the only site offering lines.

The “Big Six” categories are:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress

Why can’t I bet on the Oscars in Las Vegas?

Nevada has only ever taken bets on sporting events, and events that actually take place on the field of play. Regulators have never allowed betting on something that is not a sport.

Let the experts do the work for you

If you don’t want to study up for the Oscars before betting, there are plenty of sites that offer predictions for the awards. The most notable is Gold Derby, which tracks the entire awards season and offers predictions from dozens of awards buffs and industry professionals.

Additionally, as Oscar day nears, Variety likes to talk with anonymous Academy members who share what they voted for and their motivations behind their choices. This insight can be very useful to get a beat on what the Academy voters are thinking.

Oscar betting odds

Here are the odds for the 2021 Oscars Big Six categories:

Odds updated April 20, 2021.

Best Picture

Nominee DraftKings
The Trial of the Chicago 7 +600
Promising Young Woman +1700
Minari +1400
Judas & the Black Messiah+3300
Sound of Metal+5000
The Father+10000

Best Director

Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)-3335
David Fincher (Mank)+1000
Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)+1700
Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round)+2500
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)+2000

Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)-1667
Anthony Hopkins (The Father)+700
Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)+1400
Gary Oldman (Mank)+3300
Steven Yeun (Minari)+2500

Best Actress

Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)+125
Andra Day (United States vs. Billie Holiday)+600
Francis McDormand (Nomadland)+400
Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)+200
Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)+2000

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)-2500
Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of he Chicago 7) +1200
Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night iin Miami)+1700
LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah)+3300
Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)+1200

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)+375
Yuh-jung Youn (Minari)-500
Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) +1000
Olivia Colman (The Father)+2000
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)+3300

Other Oscar categories

DraftKings is offering wagers on several more categories beyond the Big Six.

These categories contain some value spots if you are willing to put in the work. Using the guild awards and Gold Derby to suss out some possible upsets and you could bring in a nice payday.

Another good tip is to go through the Best Picture nominees and try to figure out a category each film could potentially win. In the past few years, the Academy has gotten into a pattern of trying to spread the wealth around. Last year, every single Best Picture nominee ended up with at least one Oscar.


How often the Producers Guild of America winner go on to win Best Picture



How often the Directors Guild of America winner goes on to win Best Picture.


How often Best Picture was also nominated for Best Director. A movie without a Director nod has only taken home the Oscar on four occasions (1929, 1932, 1989, and 2013)


The number of times the movie that won Best Director did not win Best Picture. Nine of those instances have happened since 2000.

Oscar Betting Tips

Pay attention to the guild awards

The Golden Globes used to be a great indicator of who will win the Oscars, but in recent years, the two groups are increasingly not on the same page. Rather than monitor the Globe winners, follow which films and people win the various awards for their respective guilds.

When it comes to Oscar voting, members of the Academy only vote in categories they work in. The editors are the only ones who vote for Best Editing, for example. The only category everyone votes for is Best Picture. The best way to figure out which film editors prefer, you need look no further than the American Cinema Editors awards.

PGA and DGA are best Best Picture predictors

If there is one guild award you should pay attention to more than the rest, it is the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) award. In the 31 years of existence, the PGA winner has gone on to win Best Picture 67% of the time. The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) is equally as successful as predicting Best Picture and even more accurate when it comes to predicting Best Director.

The Best Picture will likely be the least polarizing

When the Academy expanded the Best Picture category to up to 10 nominees in 2009, it also changed how the voting for the category worked. The new preferential ballot system tends to award movies everyone feels generally positive about.

In the past, polarizing movies like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and La La Land had too many people that strongly disliked them to win. The film most likely to be ranked in the top three of the most ballots is the one most likely to win.

Hollywood loves a good Hollywood story

If you haven’t noticed, Hollywood is a little bit in love with itself. Dating back to the start of the Academy Awards, movies about movies and the arts have always fared well.

Recent examples include The Artist, Argo, Birdman, and last year’s The Shape of Water. The 2019 Best Picture field included three entertainment industry stories, Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, and A Star Is Born.

Even though Mank has that going for it this year, the push for inclusivity and the unique field means, at least this time, that rule doesn’t seem to hold as true.

Oscar voters more willing to reward actors multiple times

There are five past Oscar winners in the 2021 acting field. Of those, it seems most likely that Viola Davis will bring home a second trophy to go along with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Fences. Frances McDormand already has two awards and falls into the honor to be nominated category along with Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins.

In Best Supporting Actress, there could be an upset not unlike the Best Actress race two years ago when Olivia Colman bested heavy favorite Glenn Close. Both are nominated again this yea, but given this is Close’s ninth nomination without a win, there is actually more of a push for her to upset frontrunner Youn Yuh-Jung than Colman this time around.

Actors physically sacrificing for their craft gets rewarded too

In the case of 2019 nominee Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, he also has a physical transformation as well, which means even more bonus points in his favor. Academy voters also love actors putting on pounds, putting on latex, and putting themselves through the wringer for their craft. This is why Renee Zellweger and Joaquin Phoneix won for their performances as well.

There isn’t as much self-sacrifice in this year’s field, but Viola Davis definitely earns some points for her unglamorous turn in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. She also, like Zellweger before her, is playing a real person. Vanessa Kirby also earned her Best Actress nomination for Pieces of a Woman largely on the back of a 20-minute single-shot scene where she plays a woman in labor.

Five years of Oscars winners

Best Picture winners:

2020: Parasite
2019: Green Book
2018: Shape of Water
2017: Moonlight
2016: Spotlight

Best Director winners:

2020: Bong Joon-Ho: Parasite
2019: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
2018: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
2017: Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2016: Alejandro Iñárittu – The Revenant

Best Actor winners:

2020: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
2019: Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
2018: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
2017: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
2016: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Best Actress winners:

2020: Renee Zellweger – Judy
2019: Olivia Colman – The Favourite
2018: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO
2017: Emma Stone – La La Land
2016: Brie Larson – Room

Best Supporting Actor winners:

2020: Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
2019: Mahershala Ali – Green Book
2018: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO
2017: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
2016: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Best Supporting Actress winners:

2020: Laura Dern – Marriage Story
2019: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
2018: Allison Janney – I, Tonya
2017: Viola Davis – Fences
2016: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
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